The Best & Worst Squarespace Templates
When people ask 'what is the best Squarespace template,' there really is no one, overarching correct answer. There are however answers for 'this template would be best for this type of site.'
Each template is designed with a specific type of website in mind (eg. blogger, photographer, business, e-commerce, etc), so there are some templates that lend themselves better than others to the type of website you're creating.
After using a great number of the templates between my own sites and sites made for clients, I now have a set of favorites which I'll share with you. I also have some worst/definitely don't use this template if you're looking for X, tips too.
The Best For Photographers
Lange offers some very modern features along with wall-to-wall photo display options making it perfect for the modern photographer ready to showcase a killer portfolio in an easy-to-view manner.
Lange will make you look like a website-building-pro with the new page animation features, including both block sliding and fade-in effects. These two features are complex to code if not inherent to the template and are a popular trend of web design in 2017. Also perfect for photographers are the Lange template project pages, where it's possible to mix text and images in diverse ways to tell a story with your work.
If you're a photographer looking for something a little more modern, without being confusing and too complex, Wells is for you. Wells offers an ever-present vertical navigation which you can also populate with important quick details, such as your tagline, social links, location, etc. The Wells template gallery page offers impressive full-screen photo display options and regular pages are wonderful for showcasing a large number of photos at once.
Previous client Kayleigh Ross Photography utilized this template and together we were able to create a modern site to showcase her very large portfolio of past work in an easy to skim manner.
The Worst For Photographers
I say this for one main reason, it's massively overused by photographers.
While doing some research for an upcoming service to be offered, I browsed through 100 DIY'ed photographer websites made on Squarespace. I was floored at just how many photographers were using this template, and worst of all, most did very little customization so they really looked almost exactly the same.
Purely for the purpose of standing out from the rest of the photographer crowd, avoid Montauk.
The Best For Bloggers
Squarespace absolutely knocked it out of the park in my opinion when they launched their new set of 'Magazine-Style' A.K.A. blogger-specific templates back in March 2016. While other templates worked well in the past for blogging, these ones now can't be beat as they have a number of blogger-specific features incorporated.
The Tudor and Skype template offer customized share buttons, auto-populated related posts, blog-post read completion indicators, ever-present 'next post, last post' preview buttons, and well incorporated author profiles make these two templates a dream for bloggers.
The Worst For Bloggers
Funny thing about this? Adversary is the template this site is made on. (Update on Feb. 22nd 2017: I've now switched templates to Rally). I hadn't planned to write a blog on this site, so now I'm paying the price for not thinking long-term.
Adversary's blog page has a preview of each post, but displays in a very funny manner. Also, when reading the post, the thumbnail image is used to be the header image of the post. I however have vertical text graphics for each post, so these become a become a messy mishmash when there's the text graphic behind the post title on the blog post page. Generally, Adversary's blog displays in a very unusual manner and generally makes blogging on the template very challenging.
As you can see, I've made blogging work with this template by mastering some creative workarounds, but it's by no means a perfect fix. Down the line now that I'm blogging for my business, I'll be switching templates.
If you're blogging, avoid Adversary.
The Best For Small Businesses (or Any Site With Many pages)
Small businesses tend to have quite comprehensive sites with a large number pages. The templates above are perfect for small businesses, as well as any site with a large number of pages needed, (15 or more).
For a website with many pages or small business, it's important to make finding your way around the website simple and have many built-in navigation options. These templates offer a great deal of control over the edibility of the site, have front & centre Call To Action options and most importantly, many navigations.
Previous client, an Environmental Education program, utilized the Bedford template for their site of 18 pages. Their Plan Your Trip menu drop down tab then becomes a new navigation to the left of the page content, to make finding your way around the related group of pages a breeze.
The Worst for Small Businesses (or any site with many pages)
For small businesses and any type of website that requires a lot of pages, I'd go with a template that is very flexible. When you have a fairly large website or a website that will likely undergo changes as your business changes, you'll want a template that's really able to grow with you. A template with really clear navigation options is also important when you have a large website.
When comparing all the Squarespace templates in this chart, all the templates listed above scored a 'Small' in template flexibility on a scale of 'Small - X-Large'. For this purpose, I'd avoid these with small business websites, or any type of website with many pages.
The Best When You Want Serious Customization
- Brine family templates (Brine, Clay, Feed, Foster, Greenwich, Hatch, Heights, Hunter, Hyde, Jaunt, Juke, Keene, Lincoln, Marta, Mercer, Mojave, Motto, Nueva, Rally, Rover, Sonora, and Thorne)
I changed (Jan. 2017) this website over to the Rally template (in the Brine family) and could not be happier!
The templates in this family boast a top double navigation, and the ability to add any block over any banner area. In other templates it's only possible to add text or buttons, whereas now I can add code blocks (and have my email opt-ins in my banner), or any other block. The more you become familiar with Squarespace, the more you'll learn this is a huge advantage to getting your site to look the exact way you'd like it to.
In addition, The Brine template has some of the most Style Editor options, which is a huge advantage.
I have also used the Five template on countless sites, it's a go-to. And for good reason, it's one of the most customizable templates out there.
Five offers three sidebar options (plus a no sidebar option) which may be set per-page instead of set to the entire website, the navigation is able to be pinned to the top of the page, below your logo, or below your banner image. The style editor also boasts many additional style options that other templates don't.
If you're not quite sure where your website will go in the future and want a template that can easily grow and expand with you, Five is your best option to ensure you won't need to change templates as the direction or purpose of your site changes.
Previous site Page by Paige underwent many customizations to become a perfect fit for the multifaceted blog.
The Best for E-Commerce (Online Stores)
Squarespace is known for being ahead of the design trends and very modern. This is fantastic in many instances, but also has it's drawbacks as some new layouts and features can confuse our viewers.When we want to sell products, we want to make it as straightforward to purchase something as possible.
Hyde offers the beauty of a modern template, along with an easy-to-understand e-commerce structure. Multiple navigations make it possible to arrange pages with much flexibility, as well a search bar is able to be placed in the navigation for as simplistic a searching process as possible. The little shopping icon sits in the top right constantly, as is the norm for an online store. The categories of items for sale may be placed at the top or to the side of the products.
Basically, all the trendiness of a Squarespace template, with the simplistic functionality of an e-commerce store puts Hyde above the rest.
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